The US-led coalition in Iraq has withdrawn the last of its forces from Camp Taji, a base near Iraq’s capital Baghdad that has been the target of recent rocket attacks. The coalition handed control of the base to Iraqi security forces, along with $347 million in military equipment.
The anti-ISIS coalition dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve is hailing the move as a success and says it is part of a “long-range” plan with the Iraqi government.
“Camp Taji has historically held up to 2,000 Coalition members, with the majority departing over the summer of 2020,” the coalition said in a statement released on Sunday. The statement said the force was made up of a Spanish helicopter battalion and “military trainers” from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, the UK, the US, and NATO.
It is not clear if the forces withdrawing from Camp Taji are leaving Iraq entirely, or if they are just being redeployed in the country. Currently, there are about 5,000 US troops in Iraq and an additional 2,500 from other countries that are part of the coalition.
The troop movement comes after President Trump met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to discuss a US withdrawal from Iraq. Details from the meeting are scant, but it is believed that Trump wants a troop reduction before the November election.
Camp Taji has seen an increase in rocket attacks since the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January. After the killings, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously in favor of US and coalition forces leaving the country.